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Pilot pays a fine for private plane crash

Date Posted: 2009-04-02

The pilot of a Kadena Aero Club plane that crash landed in a northern Okinawa sugar cane field last Fall has been hit with a ¥200,000 fine.

Lieutenant Colonel John F. Rued, charged in the case with suspicion of negligence against safe aviation, went to the Nago Police Station and paid the fine the same day it was ordered by the Naha District Prosecutor’s Office. Rued had been piloting the light Cessna aircraft on a flight back to Okinawa’s main island when he encountered problems and crash landed in Nago City’s Makiya area, clipping a power line before hitting the ground in the sugar cane field.

Rued and his two passenger suffered light injuries in the crash. There were no injuries to anyone on the ground. Okinawa Prefecture Police demanded the U.S. military hand over the aircraft during the investigation, but the military refused. The Naha District Prosecutor’s Office issued the summary indictment with the ¥200,000 penalty.

The owner of the sugar cane field was not pleased with the penalty decision. “Only a ¥200,000 penalty?” he asked. “The accident is finished by I can’t feel safe yet, and I know there were no injuries for local residents.” The farmer says he’s most concerned “if the plane was to crash near a children’s playground, it would be a very serious accident.” The farmer is also seeking damages in the case, and is now negotiating with the Okinawa Self Defense Ministry Office.

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